All unprocessed plant foods play an important role in your life and your health, and leafy greens pack an extra special healthy punch. The abundance of nutrients found in all leafy greens warrants them a solid spot in your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth, reminding yourself how loved you are, and playing with your fur baby (or regular baby if that’s what you have going on).
Here’s the deal.
How you feel, how you look, how many medications you’re on and how healthy you are overall has a lot to do with the nutrient density of your diet.
Nutrient density refers to how many nutrients a particular food has per calorie. For example, a donut has lots of calories and very few (if any) nutrients. A bowl of blueberries on the other hand has few calories and a ton of nutrients. So blueberries are nutrient dense and donuts are nutrient void. Easy enough.
For optimal health and a healthy weight, the majority of what we eat needs to have more nutrients than calories.
Given this calculation, leafy greens are the most nutrient dense plant foods on the planet because they are super low in calories and packed with nutrients.
Just to give you an idea:
- Chicken has about 1,085 calories per pound.
- Oil (all kinds – even coconut oil) has 4,002 calories per pound.
- Fish has about 933 calories per pound.
By comparison, leafy greens have about 100 calories per pound.
And to most people’s surprise, the majority of those calories come from protein.
The nutrients in leafy greens are responsible for all kinds of good stuff, including boosting immune function, protecting blood vessels, vision protection, protection from type 2 diabetes, removing carcinogens, cancer protection, reducing inflammation and neutralizing oxidative stress.
Not only are leafy greens jam packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants, they are also rich in calcium and folate. They even contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Leafy greens are kind of like Beyoncé – the total package.
So eating these green powerhouses should be at the top of your priority list on the daily. Here’s the problem. Most people go to the grocery store and load up on greens with the awesome intention of eating them throughout the week. Then they get home from the grocery, put the greens in their fridge, and there they sit. All. Week. Long.
Until they get tossed out because they got slimy and went bad before they were used.
I have a simple solution that takes just a bit of time and will ensure that you actually eat those badass mothers every week instead of tossing them out. All you have to do is thoroughly wash and dry your greens once a week. That’s it. And to help you do that, I made a video, showing you my process for washing and drying greens. I do this every single week. On the rare occasion I don’t do it, I don’t eat as many greens throughout the week. It’s as predictable as that.
There are two people in my house and the two of us go through about 5 bunches of greens a week and about 2 heads of lettuce. When I follow this method, all of my greens stay perfectly fresh for a full week. They would likely stay good for longer, but I always use them up before I have the opportunity to find out.
Watch the video below to find out exactly how to handle your greens like a plant based boss.
And as a reminder, my weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans have different leafy greens each week with new and exciting ways to use them.
Today’s dressing is perfect for drizzling over chopped up raw greens, massaging in the goodness like a Swedish masseuse and then chowing the hell down.
Here are the bowls that was used in the video above.
Creamy Curry Dressing
3 dried dates, pit taken out and simmered in water for about 10 minutes (2 dates if they are jumbo)
1/4 cup tahini (70g)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
1 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water (120ml)
- Drain and discard the date water and place the dates into your blender, along with the tahini, curry powder, garlic clove, ginger, salt and water and blend until completely smooth.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with taking extra steps to see that your body is well looked after.
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Food photography by Christine June
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